Follow @Keithllair at the state track and field championships in Clovis today and Saturday. Keith will be tweeting and posting Tout video’s of competitors at finals. For up to the minute results, click the CIF-State results link.
By Keith Lair, Staff Writer
La Salle High School graduate Daniel De La Torre has had a one-track mind this entire spring.
He missed last Friday’s graduation ceremonies to work on his one goal for this season: Win CIF State track and field championships in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters. He qualified in both events at last week’s CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet. “It’s all been a progression,” the UCLA-bound runner said. “I’m ready to run in state. I’m going to finish what I started, which is to finish strong.”
The goal remains intact heading into today’s two-day meet at Clovis’ Veterans Memorial Stadium at Buchanan High. De La Torre finished ninth in the 1,600 and fourth in the 3,200 last year. He must finish in the top nine in a 1,600 qualifying race today. There is no 3,200 qualifier.
“I’m waiting to run my big times in the state meet,” he said. “Last year I ran my fastest time in (the) CIF (finals). It was disastrous for state. My coaches have been peaking me for the state meet. Not league, not CIF, not Masters. The state meet.
“My coaches have a plan for me and I’m happy.”
South Pasadena’s Claire Kieffer-Wright has been a target and a chaser in the high jump all season. She won last year’s state title with a leap of 5-10.
The junior has been chasing the 6-foot-plus mark all season. She cleared 6 feet at the Mt. SAC Relays and has missed twice at 6-1 1/2 this year.
It could be an interesting night for Kieffer-Wright, who must face 2011 state champion Rachel McCoy of Miller. She took last year off and has cleared 5-11 in the last two meets. She has signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at Long Island University.
Bonita junior Dominique Wheatley also returns to state for the second consecutive year in the triple jump. She finished eighth last year.
She has jumped a season-best 39-1 3/4 at the Arcadia Invitational. She is ranked 12th in the state heading into the meet.
Eight other Valley athletes will make state debuts.
Three athletes also will attempt doubles. Rowland senior Devin Thompson will compete in the triple and long jumps. South Pasadena senior Laura Anuakpado and Kieffer-Wright also are doubling up in relays. Anuakpado will run in the 400 and then anchor the Tigers’ 1,600 relay team. Kieffer-Wright will run the first leg of that race. Anika Renken runs the second leg and Kamia Rodil Willis runs the third leg.
Anuakpado, Bishop Amat’s Darren Andrews and South Hills’ Josh Webster all have excellent chances of advancing to the finals. Anuakpado has the ninth-fastest time in the 400, Andrews the seventh-fastest time in the 100 and Webster the 11th-best mark in the triple jump. Thompson is ranked 12th in the triple jump.
“My senior year; I’m actually going to state,” Webster said. “The past four years of doing track, I finally get to qualify. It’s been my dream.”
He finally hit 47 feet this season on his final jump at the Masters.
Also trying to advance will be Bonita’s Marissa Scott in the 1,600 and Monrovia’s Sidney Mosley in the 100 hurdles.
Qualifying begins today at 3 p.m. for field events and at 5 for running events. Nine competitors in running events through the 400 and 12 competitors in the 800, longer distances and in field events advance to Saturday’s finals, which start at 6 p.m.